TV technology has transformed the video landscape view via 5G cellular networks, NextGen TV broadcasts, and UltraHD HDR streaming video. But navigating their promotional buzzwords can seem overwhelming.
It takes effort and time. And you have more pressing concerns. I aim to cut through the hype,
get you to your comfy chair with your remote in hand, and enjoy your movies and TV programming.
1st the facts
• Your picture is only as good as your source. It defines the image’s potential.
• 4K & 8K UltraHD are the best video sources. 8K availability is limited.
• The distribution system determines if the source uninterruptedly reaches the television.
• The TV displays the result by converting the source to pixel dots of light.
The source & resolution
Ultra HDTV increases television resolution, the number of lines that create your picture, plus the number of illuminating pixel dots per line.
• 4K UltraHD increases from HDTV 2 million illuminating pixels to over 5 million.
• 8K UltraHD increases resolution to more than 57 million pixels.
As the number of pixels increases, each decreases in size.
Given HDTV pixels are not easily seen at a comfortable viewing distance.
How can seemingly invisible pixels significantly benefit your viewing experience?
Yeah, how can nearly invisible pixels improve your picture?
Although increasingly smaller pixels appear to disappear, your brain unconsciously responds to their electromagnetic energy. The picture begins to emerge as a near real-world window.
The delivery system
Internet Protocol Television or IPTV is the primary ‘window’ delivery system format.
5G cellular, high-speed internet, and NextGenTV have the wireless bandwidth to transport IPTV.
Bandwidth wireless highway
5G cellular succeeds narrow ‘two-lane’ 4G network ‘roads’ with a six-lane super wireless highway.
Similarly, NextGen TV improves bandwidth well beyond over-the-air HDTV broadcasts.
Expanded bandwidth has established stable video streaming for your managed and unmanaged networks.
Unmanaged networks include individual sites such as Netflix, Prime, Hulu, Max, and Disney.
Managed multichannel-video-program-distributor (MVPD) networks offer packages of unmanaged sites.
Managed includes sites such as YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, Fubo TV, Sling TV, and DirectTV Stream.
To date (July 2023), wide bandwidth 5G cellular networks have become an extraordinary success while cable and satellite TV wane. NextGen TV is amid a national rollout. The NextGen jury is still out.
This TVTech Link provides a map of NextGen’s progress as of June 2023.
Bandwidth plus HDR
Increased bandwidth has paved the way to implement High Dynamic Range formats.
HDR expands the difference between the darkest and brightest pixels. It reproduces a much wider gamut of color. HDR expands HDTV > 16 million shades of color to > 1 billion with a potential to > 4 billion colors.
Many consider HDR the most improved advancement since the launch of color television.
Most UltraHD TVs support the popular HDR formats of HDR10, HDR 10+, Dolby Vision, and HGL.
HDR advances us even closer to a real-world window.
LED TV windows – good, better, best.
LED pixels are continuously adjustable light sources – from the brightest level to absolutely off-dark black. Alternatively, LCD TV pixels block their light source. But LCD cannot stop-block all light.
Therefore, they cannot create absolute black color.
LED-based TV leverages this dynamic advantage with HDR to create unprecedented shades of color.
LED-based TV technologies include WOLED, QD-OLED, QNED, and Micro-LED TVs.
WOLED (generally labeled OLED) uses stacked reg, green, & blue organics LED pixels to create accurate white light. A red, green, or blue filter in front of the continuously adjustable stack of LEDs produces the color. The ‘W’ in WOLED is an extra unfiltered white pixel to improve brightness.
WOLED or OLED is currently available in the following forms — OLED MLA, OLED 120Hz, and OLED 60Hz.
MLA (microlens array) improves brightness. 120 Hz accommodates gaming. 60Hz is the baseline OLED TV.
Note: An LED leans toward blue color. The mixed RGB stack creates specified white color.
QD-OLED eliminates the organic WOLED stacked LEDs and color filters.
QD-OLED uses a rear blue layer of organic LEDs to excite quantum dot illuminating film.
Red & green quantum dots produce red & green color. The blue organic LED layer produces blue.
This technology offers higher brightness, improved contrast, and a broader volume of color than WOLED. Some refer to this as color-by-blue. ( Real QD-OLED is not yet available.)
QNED (IOLED) is an inorganic nano-rod LED quantum dot TV.
As QD-OLED, QNED is a color-by-blue display.
QNED replaces the organic blue LED layer with an inorganic blue nano-rod LED layer.
Inorganic LEDs are brighter and offer a longer illuminating life than organic LEDs.
(QNED has not yet, and may never reach, retail floors.)
Micro-LED eliminates quantum dot film and color filters.
Micro-LEDs are individual red, green, & blue LEDs.
They’re packed alongside one another and are almost invisible to the naked eye.
The Micro-LED TV promises to produce up to 5,000 nits of brightness and blow past OLED, IOLED, & LCD. In addition, the absolute black level and brightness achieve new levels of dynamic contrast.
Micro-LED is currently very expensive and limited to 76-inch, 86-inch, and 146-inch models.
This display will someday replace home theater projector/screen systems.
Which TV should you buy?
The good news is if you only want to watch TV, you’re unconcerned about the highest performance, you can’t go wrong with any top-brand TV or keep your old plasma. It works great.
If you seek higher video performance:
• OLED 60Hz or 120Hz are your good value options.
• OLED MLA is the videophile upgrade option.
• The Micro-LED is the high-priced ultimate home theater option.
Flies in the soup?
OK, you installed your UltraHD source and LED-based TV. What could go wrong?
Well, a lot could go wrong if the following is not confirmed.
• All components, including cables, must meet the HDMI 2.1 or higher specification.
• Confirm all component menus have properly been set for UltraHD/HDMI implementation.
Non-compliance can lead to downgraded HD video, a noisy picture, or a blank screen.
I hope the UltraHD picture is clear.
I’m headed for my comfy chair.
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